Normally, I restrict this blog to historical notes and book reviews, but this is a special occasion. My book Selene of Alexandria is a featured read this Saturday, October 26, at The Fussy Librarian, a website that offers personalized ebook recommendations. You choose from thirty genres and indicate preferences about content and the computer works its magic. I’ve signed up for the service and get a personalized list of ebook recommendations every day. All the recommended books cost $5.99 or less and have rankings of 4 stars or better. Check it out at TheFussyLibrarian.com
For those not familiar with my novel, here’s the back cover blurb:
“…readers will be captivated” – Historical Novel Society
“…an entertaining and enlightening novel….a fine read through and through.” – Midwest Book Reviews
“… does what historical fiction does best—weave historical fact, real-life historical figures, and attention to detail with page-turning, plot-driven fiction.” – The Copperfield Review
This story of ambition, love and political intrigue brings to life colorful characters and an exotic time and place. In A.D. 412 Alexandria, against the backdrop of a city torn by religious and political strife, Selene struggles to achieve her dream of becoming a physician–an unlikely goal for an upper class Christian girl. Hypatia, the famed Lady Philosopher of Alexandria and the Augustal Prefect Orestes offer their patronage and protection. But will it be enough to save Selene from murderous riots, the machinations of a charismatic Bishop and–most dangerous of all–her own impulsive nature?
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Readers of this blog know I like to highlight fiction and non-fiction that present capable women with strong personalities. I read a post in a forum recently that intrigued me. The person was looking for historical fiction recommendations, but “none of those anachronistic modern women dressed up in historical costumes crap.” I don’t think he was disparaging time travel fiction and, yes, I’ve read a few stories where the women seem to have more modern sensibilities than might be warranted. But not all strong females in historical fiction are anachronistic. I’ve read other blog posts by historical fiction writers also deploring recent criticism about strong women described by readers as “too modern” in spite of ample historical evidence that women did and thought as the writers wrote them. Where does the dissonance come from? Why would a reader think a woman couldn’t be a doctor in Late Antiquity, captain a whaling ship, or teach men to fly planes during WWII — all documented events?
I blame school history books. The protagonist in my novel, Selene of Alexandria is a young woman who wants to become a physician in fifth century Alexandria — not a “healer” or midwife — a trained and apprenticed physician. There is ample written and archaeological evidence of women physicians through the ages, including this period. But if you don’t look outside the traditional history texts, you wouldn’t know that. (more…)
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It’s been a year since Selene of Alexandria came out. What a roller coaster ride! Before Christmas 2009, the first review came in from Bookpleasures.com saying “buy this now!” A handful of sales later, Story Circle Book Reviews (fiction for, about and by women) said “pure fiction magic.” The jewel in the crown, the Historical Novel Society said “a promising new historical novelist with a gift for wonderfully researched, vividly evoked, good old-fashioned storytelling.” More reviews, more raves. I could sit back and let the money roll in…NOT! Now I had to renovate my website, develop a blog, put together a press kit, create a book trailer, provide guest blog spots on other sites, leave useful information on historical and reading boards, conduct giveaways on reader sites, do public readings…and on and on. It was fun and exhilarating, exhausting and frustrating, but it was a journey that most writers would give their right hand for. I published a book. It’s out there and well received. Before I move on to publishing my second book Twilight Empress, I want to thank all the people who believed in me, bought and/or reviewed the book and recommended it to their friends.
As a celebration, I’m giving away five copies of Selene. This is an international giveaway. For US and Canada winners, I’ll send either a paper book or ebook–your choice. For all others, I’ll send an ebook in your choice of formats. Entry is easy: leave a comment (make sure to give your email when asked, but not necessary in the post). If you want a second entry, sign up to follow the blog. For a another chance, repost this giveaway on your Facebook, blog, Twitter, website, etc. and post the link in your comment. Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear immediately. I moderate comments, so it may take little while! I’ll announce the winners on Monday, December 20. Again, thank you all and good luck!
And the winners are:
Mary K of L.A.
I’ve sent you each emails asking about shipping. Congratulations!
Thanks to everyone for participating!
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